Teen drivers and how to better prepare them

August 2, 2016

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013, 2,163 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.

What are the danger zones for teens?

A Teenage boy and new driver behind wheel of his car

  • Driver inexperience – Underestimating dangerous situations or not being able to recognize hazardous situations comes from inexperience.
  • Reckless driving – Speeding and allowing shorter lead ways between vehicles is reckless behavior. The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.
  • Not using seat belts – Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use.
  • Impaired driving – At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
  • Nighttime driving – In 2013, 51% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 54% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
  • Distracted driving – The use of smartphones, texting, applying make-up, eating, and driving with other passengers in the vehicle all contribute to a distracted driver.
  • Driving with teen passengers – In 2012, 54 percent of the deaths of teenage passengers in passenger vehicles occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager.
  • Drowsy driving – Teen drivers who sleep less than 8 hours nightly are one-third more likely to crash than those who sleep 8 or more hours nightly.

How can deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving teen drivers be deterred?

There are proven methods to help teens become safer drivers.

  • Seat Belts
  • Not Drinking & Driving
  • Graduated Driver Licensing Programs (GDL) – The need for skill-building and driving supervision for new licensees is the basis for graduated driver licensing programs. These programs exist in all US states and Washington, DC. GDL provides longer practice periods, limits driving under high risk conditions for newly licensed drivers, and requires greater participation of parents in their teens’ learning-to-drive.
  • Parent Involvement – Consider having your teen sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement and hold them to it. It could save their life!

Driving is a complex skill, one that must be practiced to be learned well. Teenagers’ lack of driving experience, together with risk-taking behavior, puts them at heightened risk for crashes.

The Armstrong Company Insurance Consultants assists clients with their risk management assessments. For assistance with Auto or Commercial Auto Insurance contact The Armstrong Company Insurance Consultants .

Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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